Sanden Totten / KPCC
A still day at the Salton Sea. (Sanden Totten/KPCC)
It’s the largest body of water in California. It's saltier than the Pacific Ocean. And now local political leaders and their Washington counterparts are uniting to save the Salton Sea.
Last fall, the House and the Senate passed slightly different versions of The Water Resources Development Act. The measures are still waiting for a conference committee to hammer out a single bill. Both versions would double federal funding aimed at restoring aquatic ecosystems, prioritizing projects identified as a public health threat, ecosystems of national importance or important habitats for protected species of migratory birds. But Democratic U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, who authored the Senate bill, complains that “in the face of constrained budgets at all levels of government, and the complexity of the task, movement on restoration efforts has been frustratingly slow.”
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford stopped L.A. City Hall Monday. He's in town for an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is in town for an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" and he's spending his first trip to Los Angeles like many other tourists — visiting City Hall.
The Toronto mayor gained international attention last year when he was investigated in a substance abuse scandal. He admitted to drug use and public drunkenness, and later told reporters he used crack cocaine "probably in one of my drunken stupors." He is up for reelection in October.
But this week, he's in Los Angeles to do an appearance with late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. Ford made a brief appearance on Sunday's Oscars special and is scheduled to appear this evening with The Great Gonzo (from The Muppets) and Fitz and the Tantrums.
"Every time I travel somewhere, I always make sure to go to their City Hall. It's a beautiful, beautiful building," Ford told reporters in the Spring Street Forecourt.
A report from PA Consulting says the Los Angeles Fire Department needs a strategic plan and new leadership structure.
An independent assessment of the Los Angeles Fire Department finds a new leadership structure and a strategic plan for operations could make LAFD more efficient while simultaneously rebuilding the public's confidence. The full report can be read below.
The analysis from PA Consulting comes as the LAFD is grappling with criticism over its hiring process. In January, the department hired its first class of recruits in five years, but the Los Angeles Times found 20 percent of those recruits were either the sons or nephews of L.A. firefighters.
Mayor Eric Garcetti's office called for an investigation into the recruitment process. Interim Chief Jim Featherstone also reassigned two commanders after he found they oversaw a recruitment process that allowed their own sons to advance while thousands of other applicants were eliminated. The criteria: the applicants did not turn in paperwork during a 60-second window, according to the Times.
State Sen. Ron Calderon will take a leave of office to focus on his federal corruption trial.
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Today is Monday, March 3, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:
In Rick Orlov's Tipoff column, former Councilman Dennis Zine sticks with politics, the Los Angeles County Young Democrats make endorsements and the LA Area Chamber of Commerce heads to Washington, D.C. -- without the mayor.
State Sen. Ron Calderon will take a leave of absence to focus on his federal corruption case, reports KPCC. Had he not left on his own terms, his colleagues could have expelled Calderon from the Senate.
California's drought as seen from space.
House Republicans from California’s farm country are pressuring the Senate to pass Dianne Feinstein’s drought bill. But one House Democrat says there’s a reason the Senate bill appears to be stalled.
Earlier this month, the GOP-led House passed a 70-page drought relief bill; a week later, Feinstein introduced a Senate bill that doesn’t include the House language, which puts habitat restoration projects on hold and upends existing water agreements. But there is no word on what happens next. There has been no commitment from Senate leadership for a vote or even to assign it to a committee, something that has House Republicans frustrated.
On Thursday, Central Valley Republican lawmakers met to talk about how to move drought legislation forward. House Whip Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield called on Majority Leader Harry Reid to put the Feinstein bill on the Senate floor for a vote, saying he looks forward to finding "areas of common ground." Tulare Republican Devin Nunes called Feinstein’s bill “weak,” but said passage would allow Congress to begin negotiating a solution to “this unmitigated disaster.” Granite Bay Republican Tom McClintock doesn’t like the Senate bill either, but he wants it to pass so "we can begin the conference process without further delay.”